Most, if not all large insurance carriers offer mobile apps nowadays. In terms of car insurance, the apps have evolved from simple checklists indicating the steps you should take after being involved in an accident to full-fledged app suites with a host of functions. You can get quotes, buy new policies and handle administrative and billing issues from the comforts of your phone itself. Some of the more advanced apps will also allow you to file claims from the app itself. Here’s why this all makes sense.
They Are Free!
Most of these apps are free, as they have been built for public convenience, not for minting money. Even if they are paid, the apps are relatively inexpensive, like InsuranceTerms for 99 cents. Besides apps from insurance providers, there is a host of independent apps like WreckMate and iWrecked which will help you through the entire post-accident process. Whether you are looking to speak to a representative immediately, file a claim or understand the severity of the accident and what implications it may hold, there is an app for it all, and it is either free or inexpensive.
Assistance Where You Need It
Besides all the user-friendliness and accessibility, possibly one of the most useful perks of these apps is the customer service. They open up new avenues like live chat with a customer service employee or a direct call to a helpline at the press of a button. GEICO have even gone so far as to have “Lily”, an insurance service-related voice assistant, on the lines of Siri and Cortana. You can also store details of your accident or an online car insurance quote in a cache on the app, and edit and file the claim later on.
They Are Convenient
Besides changing the entire insurance claims and application landscape, the apps add a whole new dimension to user convenience. With all data being digital, you can either store your data locally or access it directly from the cloud and produce it when needed. Several states have already accepted the idea of motorists showing a PDF or a mobile app to a police officer for proof of insurance. This marks a paradigm shift to paperless documentation, which is the future of all users.
Legal Issues and the Future
Not all states have accepted the paperless system yet, though, and the entire shift could take a few years because every state has a different legal process. Hence, it makes sense to keep a paper backup of your proof of insurance in your car so that you are able to produce it in case of a damaged phone or if you are out of charge. Furthermore, it will take time for a paperless system to find favor with veteran police officers who have spent their entire lives reading documents on paper and might not be too comfortable on phones.
Also, storing this data on your phone may give rise to certain security issues. Special legal arrangements have been made to ensure that a customer who hands over his digital proof of insurance to a police officer isn’t actually authorizing him to have a look at any other data on the device, but the nature and implementation of the same is murky at best now, and needs to be made as rigid and clear as possible. If your phone is lost, your confidential information could now be at risk because of these apps. That said, setting passwords is always an option, and there are remote data-wiping apps in place as well.